Shiv Sena Handles MP Ravindra Gaikwad Who Assaulted Air India Manager With Kid Gloves

Ravindra Gaikwad met with Shiv Sena leader Anil Desai and updated him on what went down on the Air India plane.

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Shiv Sena Handles MP Ravindra Gaikwad Who Assaulted Air India Manager With Kid Gloves

Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad landed in Delhi yesterday on an Air India flight from Pune.

New Delhi:  Ravindra Gaikwad, Shiv Sena MP, has in the last 24 hours proved to be a giant embarrassment for his party. After he thrashed an Air India manager on a plane - he pleasured in detailing "I hit him 25 times with my slipper" - he demanded that the 60-year-old who he nearly pushed off the ladder used to disembark the plane - should ask to see him and apologize to him, making it amply clear that for his part, no apology will be forthcoming. Mr Gaikwad has also complained to Air India about its "poor service."

Through all this, his party chief, Uddhav Thackeray, has offered no comment. The Sena said he would act after surveying the facts. Which have been recounted with great aplomb and alacrity by Mr Gaikwad.

The 57-year-old, landed in Delhi yesterday on an Air India flight from Pune. Whereupon he refused to leave the plan for 45 minutes. His sit-in was to protest against being made to fly economy. It's not clear what the airline could have done differently, given that the plane had no business class section, a fact that was reportedly conveyed to the politician's staff ahead of the journey.

But Mr Gaikwad smelled in this "a conspiracy" and demanded an explanation. So Duty Manager Sukumar Raman arrived on the jet to reason with him. Whereupon Mr Gaikwad, a former schoolteacher, hit him with his footwear and allegedly broke his glasses and ripped the buttons of his shirt. 

The manager's letter of complaint says the MP abused him, "used foul language" and humiliated him. "I can only say 'God save our country if this is the culture and behavior of our MPs," says the last line of his note.

In Delhi today, Mr Gaikwad met with party leader Anil Desai and updated him on what went down on the plane. He was warned to "watch his behavior"- unlikely that his wrist is smarting after that very light tap. 

Mr Gaikwad has also asked Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to investigate why he was treated poorly by the national carrier.   

Today, he insists, he will return, as planned, on an Air India flight to Pune. The airline has filed two criminal cases against him - for the assault and for delaying the plane with his sit-in  by 45 minutes, keeping 115 passengers waiting. 

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